What are you rights when your buy a used car?
The Citizen's Advice Bureau have an excellent and comprehensive section on their website. If you find something wrong after purchasing a used car It’s worth knowing that you’ll still have legal rights even if you don’t do the proper checks. If there’s something wrong with your used car you may have a legal right to a repair or some or all of your money back.Make sure a trader is trustworthy
If you’re buying from a trader look for an established firm with links to trade associations like the Retail Motor Industry Federation or a sign that says they follow The Motor Ombudsman's code of practice look for a trader with cars inspected by an independent engineer or motoring organisations.Buying from an auction
Auctions are the riskiest way of buying a used car as you probably won’t have the legal protection that you have buying through a trader. Ensure that you read the auction house’s T and Cs before buying a car.Check a car’s history
Check the car’s details with the DVLA
- Ask the seller for the car’s registration number
- MOT test number
- make and model
Use the DVLA’s free online vehicle information checker to make sure what the seller tells you matches the DVLA’s records.Check the MOT and history
You should check that MOT tests have been done regularly throughout the car’s history. Check this on GOV.UK. This is a free service.
Get a private history check.
These will cost up to £20 – but they can be worth it! This will give you valuable information about serious problems the car might have including if:
the car has been stolen
the seller still owes money on the car
the car has been in a serious accident
the car is showing the correct mileage
the car has been written offInspect the car and take a test drive
You should arrange to view the car in daylight, preferably when it’s dry - it’s harder to spot damage to the car if it’s wet. It’s a good idea to meet at a private seller’s house so that if something goes wrong after you’ve bought the car, you’ll have a record of their address.
The AA has a useful checklist for what to look out for when inspecting a used car and its paperwork. Make sure you ask about the car’s service history.
Always take the car for a test drive.
Drive for at least 15 minutes on different types of road. The AA has a checklist for what to look out for when taking a test drive. If you’re still not sure - get an independent report
However, you can go a step further and get an independent report on the car. This will give you detailed information about the car’s condition and will cost around £100 to £200 an are available from motoring organisations like the AA
The Motor Ombudsman - Call 0345 241 3008